Monthly Archives: February 2012

How Did A Solo Female Entrepreneur Beat the Competition- 2 Loveable Hairdressers with 10-20 Customers Visiting Their Salons Each Day to Become the Best Loved Business in Ipswich?

Best Loved Business in Ipswich Award.In just 14 days, Elene Marsden owner of betterACTnow had gained the support of over 150 businesses and won the prestigious Best Loved Business in Ipswich Award.

How did she achieve this success?

Elene sells ACT software and trains businesses to keep in touch with their client base so she knew she had the systems to win this award and she was keen to show that she walks her talk!

Ruby Slippers - who could forget them!

Ruby Slippers - who could forget them!

The steps she took to beat the competition

Step 1 As soon as the 14 Days of Love Competition was announced Elene decided she wanted to win. Elene even visualised going to the Valentine’s Ball as the winner picking up the prize. She told other people she was going to win! Rather foolish some might say! SET YOUR INTENT

Step 2 Elene created a promotional video to get votes. Yes, she spent a morning sorting out images and video clips but the hard work producing the video was done by– an amazing website where you can get anything done for $5! Her rather splendid video was available within 24 hours. PROMOTE YOURSELF DIFFERENTLY

Step 3 She sent 3 emails using ACT Emarketing to her customers and to people that she knew opened and liked reading her regular e-shots –SEND TARGETED MESSAGES WITH A CALL TO ACTION

Elene Marsden receiving her award

Elene Marsden receiving her award

Step 4 As the competition intensified she went to more networking events than usual and asked for support. She needed to make an impression and wore her ruby slippers which certainly got people talking. They now have a special place in her office. BE MEMORABLE

Step 5 She asked for votes. She didn’t always feel comfortable doing this but she was on a mission and had to suspend all fear. ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT

Step 6 She used Social Media to tell people how many votes she had especially during the last days of the competition when the votes were so close.  SPREAD THE WORD ONLINE

Best Loved Business Award

It’s early days to analyse how much extra revenue this award will generate for Elene’s business –betterACTnow– but she knows that the gaining over 150 amazing testimonials in just 3 weeks an only be good for business in the long run.

  • February 26, 2012

Time To Stop?

At any networking event I could guarantee to get every woman’s hand in the air, if I asked the question “Whose busy and never seems to have enough time?”

You see as business owners, there is always a glut of jobs that could be done. The key is to prioritise what is most important, outsource and automate. But sometimes that’s just not enough.

Many a business woman has felt like she is losing under a mountain of paperwork, emails and jobs to do. No matter how many times you cross things off of the list to do there is always something new to be added. I can appreciate that’s why business women come to me to get their minds organised, create direction and set goals to get them to the results they desire. But sometimes something else is called for.


How many of you reading this create space?

How many of you allow your mind to wander?

How many of you reading this allow yourself time to smell the crocus’s popping up or to notice the buds on the trees?

Sounds like a girly, non business focussed, fluffy idea right? But Google encourages their staff to do something they enjoy doing for 20% of their time, because they appreciate it allows for creativity, increased long term productivity, solution finding and happy people.

Latest research in Neuroscience is showing without down time, we take longer to restore, will find relaxation harder in the future and we lose our ability to concentrate and create. All of which massively impact on your business success.

So the next time you’re faced with a mountain of work, it may not strike you as the most productive approach but sometimes a little bit of nothing is the key. Creating space in your mind allows your mind to wander, and when this happens your subconscious is allowed to take over. The sub conscious from the moment you think of something is looking for the solution, and the reason you often can’t see the solution is because the conscious mind is so busy shouting instructions and getting on with the day to day stuff. Clare Lauwerys from Positive Web said “Making cheese sauce works for me. Whenever I’m stirring a cheese sauce I end up creating great ideas for my customer’s websites.”

As a business coach I help a client create space to work out what really matters and to help them direct focus to achieve. Having a non judgemental soundboard helps. And Google have gone one step further there by introducing grouplets – allowing staff to get together in working hours and work on their creative ideas, which have led to some of the great products and services that allow Google to remain at the top.

So if you find your feeling overworked, and fighting a losing battle;

Walk away for 10 minutes.

Turn your mind to a job you love doing for 20 minutes.

Before you go to sleep at night think of something that you would like a solution to and nod off. Research has shown that in the first hour before we go to sleep our mind is still processing the contents of the day, therefore your subconscious will have the space to start working on your problem while your sleeping.

Just as you ensure you are productive all day, ensure you created space in your day. In the best selling book, Art of Concentration Harriett Griffey (who spoke at The BWN a couple of times!) talked about the need to create space for productivity – it seems madness to walk away from the very issue you are trying to solve. But as we all know – “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.” Mark Twain.

 Time for new thinking?

  • February 25, 2012

Do you treat your business like Valentine’s Day?

This was a question I posed at The Colchester BWN yesterday in a 5 minute promo slot (incidentally I didn’t talk about my business at all and gained 2 new clients yesterday – there’s a powerful message in there about how to do a promo slot right?)

A good thing or a bad you ask, right?

Valentines comes around once a year, and once a year you are expected to get lovey dovey cats eyes, think about your loved one, shower them with affection, and your time and energy. But hang on for just one day of the year?

I have been very happily married for 16 years and my hubby 1st kissed me 19 and a half years ago on Valentine’s day and I still get flutters in my belly just thinking about him and a silly grin on my face (OK this is no Disney Fairy tale – I still berate that I’m the only one that can carry things up the stairs or put dirty socks in the wash!) But is that from putting effort and energy in once a year?

It’s from always considering his needs, his passions and his feelings. Every day when he gets home from work I always say “How was your day?”Recently he said why do you always ask me that? And I said “Because I care” and I care for more than one day of the year.

(Me Loving My Husband and Me Loving My Business)

Now let’s flip over to your business (before you all throw up with my lovedupness – made up word, but I like it!) Do you treat your business like Valentine’s Day?

Do you once in a while say “Right let’s look at our marketing, let’s power up the results. Let’s check out our website and if people are engaged by it and getting in touch”


Do you think daily;

Is our website getting the right message across to our potential clients? Does it match up to what we have been doing recently?

When I attend networking events am I saying things that compliment the marketing message on our website?

Am I getting our business in the local press, talking about what we have been doing recently and the great story that is hidden about our company?

Do I use this press release information and my marketing material on social media?

Do I sing about this when delivering my 60 seconds promo slots?

Do I think daily – How do I interact with potential clients, When do I, Where do I interact with them?

Do you always ask in the back of your mind where your next client is coming from?

Because if you don’t you are a once a year, special occasion Valentine’s Day business owner. And Guess what that does for your sustainability? For your Growth? For your Success?

8 years ago I had severe clinical depression and nearly died (twice – just for good measures!) and my husband was my rock, we know that whatever life throws at us we will be able to deal with it, together, as a team. Once a month we pick a row with the kids and get them off to bed early so that we can light candles, cook a nice meal and snuggle up in a mountain of cushions and watch a film and be just us. It’s always a Tuesday night because, hey Tuesday was never a special night of the week and it needed a bit of attention. Regularly putting in effort keeps our relationship fresh, special and wonderful.

Valentine’s Day is never going to be enough to create something lasting for all time.

So ask yourself are you having the same attitude to your business?

If so isn’t it time you gave your business full time love?

For ideas on loving your business full time, gaining more customers and making the sales (without spending sacks of money) get in touch or head over to the Free reports and the BWN blog as they are both packed with ideas to rocket your sales. As a business coach and as founder of The Business Womans Network both my coaching clients and business women that attend the BWN are seeing great results in their business because of the way I work – I would love to hear all about your business and how I could support your success too.


  • February 15, 2012

A Business Woman’s Guide to Protecting your Intellectual Property

Many businesses ask what are the most important things they need to know about Intellectual Property so here goes:-

1.      If you have an idea or invention DO NOT TELL ANYONE.

To be protectable by patent a new invention must be novel and inventive.  As soon as you tell someone you have destroyed the novelty and hence made your invention un-patentable.  If you do need to discuss your idea make sure you do it under the cover of a Non-Disclosure or Confidentiality Agreement.  You can download templates off the Internet if you have a tight budget.

2.      Arm yourself with knowledge. 

There are 4 main types of Intellectual Property: Trade Marks, Copyright, Patents and Design Rights.  You can have all 4 types of Intellectual Property in any one business  and they all work together in harmony.  Get to know what each of them protect and use this to your advantage. 

3.      Respect the work of others. 

Others have put great investment in writing or producing their own Intellectual Property.  As a rule of thumb do not copy any photos, text, logos, names or ideas, this includes anything you find on the internet.  Always seek permission first or you could end up paying expensive royalties after the event.

 4.      Clearly show your rights and enforce them. 

You can use the TM symbol to denote an unregistered Trade Mark, this indicates to others that even if you haven’t taken steps to protect it you see this as your property.  If you have registered your mark you can use the ® symbol.  If you have work which qualifies for copyright protection use the © along with your name and date.  

There is no requirement to register copyright in the UK but by keeping good records of when you created material you are building a good foundation should a problem arise later.  A good way of keeping dated records is to send yourself a copy in the post (but don’t open it) it is then independently date verified by the post office!

If a third party copies your work stop them straight away.  The longer you leave the problem unaddressed the less likely you are to get a successful outcome.

5.      Be patient 

It can take time to get your Intellectual Property registered. However, you will usually be protected from the date you file. 

 6.      Use a legal advisor, you will save money and stress in the long run 

Whilst you can register most Intellectual Property yourself, if you hit a problem you will end up paying more if you have to take on a professional to resolve the matter for you.   If you haven’t carried out the right searches and a third party opposes your Application this can be extremely costly.  A Trade Mark or Patent Attorney will not let you file something they think will encounter expensive problems without warning you first.

If you are on a tight budget and cannot afford to use a Trade Mark or Patent Attorney ask for basic advice anyway, all will offer at least 30 mins free and you can ask a lot of questions in that 30 min period!  Alternatively find one on twitter, LinkedIn or facebook and ask them questions, they will like it because it will give them a chance to showcase their skills but at the same time giving you the information you need.

If you want to know more check out our website or get in touch:

A massive thanks goes to Karen Hensman of Innovate IP for sharing these ideas – Karen will be hosting an IP Property BWN Seminar later this year – watch the BWN newsletter to learn more. Not signed up?

Go to the home page and sign up today.




  • February 6, 2012

How To Set Up An Email Campaign With Mail Chimp

Hi Guys,

So yesterday a client says to me thats its hard work sending out individual emails to everyone and what results do they get anyway? Thus I mentioned Mailchimp – its free, I can keep in touch with clients/potential clients/ and business women looking to grow their business effectively, knowing who reads it, how often and if they open the links I included and even automatically share on my social media too – great right?

Here’s a taster 5 minute video to help you get going;

The How to Set Up An Email Campaign With Mail Chimp

Get started, pause the video as you and do send us your finished results.

  • February 4, 2012

Lorraine Dale shares some great Tax, Profit and Loss Top Tips

Lorraine Dale from Rightway Accounting took yesterdays promo slot at the Chelmsford BWN event to share some top tips for this critical time of year for business (Ok so all year is critical – but this is the time of year accountants live off of coffee and get panic calls from last minute worried business owners – Lorraine shared some ideas so your not one of them….

Not yet done your tax return for 2010/11?

Then get it filed today and you will not get a penalty. After today you will get an automatic penalty of £100 regardless of whether or not you owe any tax, and further daily penalties of £10 per day for each day after that.

Did you know that making a loss can be a good thing?

There are special rules for tax treatment of losses in the first years of trading, so you shouldn’t  assume that just because you aren’t making money that it is not worth completing a tax return. Apart from it being against the tax rules to be self employed and not be registered for self-assessment, you could be missing out on some money. The treatment of losses is a complex area and you should contact an accountant for advice.

Just started trading and making profits? Great!

If your profits fall below the personal allowance and you have no other income you may not pay any tax this time, but don’t forget that the first time you start to pay tax you will need to pay up front for the following year as well. The tax system operates by assuming that the following years profits will be the same as the current year and you will be required to pay the following years tax up front in two installments in January and July.

Tax Refund Scams.

Don’t respond to any emails claiming to be from HMRC and offering you a refund. You will be redirected to a false website where you are required to enter your bank details, and then your bank account will be emptied. In the last 3 months HMRC have closed down 185 false websites of this nature so this fraud is epidemic. If you think you are due a tax refund contact your accountant to check, or contact HMRC directly.

Thanks Lorraine for sharing that information – since Lorraine is the expert head over to her website ( to learn more and don’t forget your accountant is there for the whole year to support your success and feed you advice and ideas to sustain and grow your business.

You can meet Lorraine at Essex BWN events.

  • February 2, 2012